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Ian Hudghton
Scottish National Party
Member of the European Parliament

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Press Releases
9 January 2004
Euro MP meets VisitScotland Chiefs

SNP MEP Ian Hudghton has had “an informative and constructive” meeting with VisitScotland’s Corporate Affairs team, David McIntosh and Lynne Raeside, in Dundee this morning.  Mr Hudghton had arranged the meeting to discuss how areas outwith Scotland’s city conference venues can being incorporated in the agency’s strategy for developing business and conference tourism in Scotland. 

Mr Hudghton wrote to the tourism bosses in November when VisitScotland staged an event in Brussels to promote Scotland as a conference and business destination.  Fliers for the event, entitled “Meet the Cities” gave guests a chance to meet deputations from Edinburgh, Glasgow and Aberdeen, Scotland’s “key conference cities” to see what they can offer business visitors.  While commending the agency for staging the event, Mr Hudghton wanted to hear how the rest of Scotland fits into VisitScotland’s plans.

Speaking after the Dundee meeting, which the SNP MEP described as “informative and constructive”, Mr Hudghton said:

“Scotland has tremendous potential as a venue for the increasingly lucrative business tourism market and I commend VisitScotland for their positive approach to increasing Scotland’s profile.  I was, however, keen to discuss how we include the whole of Scotland.

“Mr McIntosh, Ms Raeside and I discussed what Scotland’s other three cities - Dundee, Inverness and Stirling - and  the smaller towns which can and regularly do play host to conferences can offer.  We also talked about the conference suites available at our world famous championship golf courses, and at a wide range of hotels in attractive rural settings up and down the country - good options for business travellers keen to mix business with some leisure.  I was glad to hear that VisitScotland seeks to promote a versatile market for all requirements and tastes.  Offering something more than just good conference facilities goes a long way to turning this year’s business tourist into next year’s family holidaymaker.

“We spent some time discussing the need for good transport links to ensure that tourists are able to move around Scotland with ease.  Short break holidays do not lend themselves to spending hours in traffic jams!  Tourism currently puts £4.5 billion per annum into the Scottish economy and employs around 200,000 people.  The Scottish Executive must back up VisitScotland’s strategy with hard cash to improve our transport infrastructure if Scotland’s full potential as a tourist destination is to be fulfilled.”

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